The sons of former heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman are suing Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mayweather Promotions and Showtime on a variety of charges stemming from the infamous sparring sessions televised on the network’s “All Access” reality series last month.
Hasim Rahman Jr., who is in his early 20s, and 18-year-old brother Sharif Rahman, both amateur boxers, allege battery, tortious assault, false imprisonment, negligence, defamation, unjust enrichment and for having their names and likeness used without permission, among other charges, in the 21-page lawsuit filed Thursday in Nevada’s Clark County District Court.
In the weeks before Mayweather’s welterweight championship rematch with Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Showtime televised its “All Access” series, which followed the build-up to the fight.
During the second episode, which aired on Sept. 6, there were scenes that included Sharif Rahman taking a serious beating from amateur Donovan Cameron during a sparring session at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas while Mayweather watched.
Upset that his brother had taken such a vicious pounding, Hasim Rahman Jr. arrived at the gym and challenged the smaller Cameron to get into the ring with him. While members of the gym lined up wagers, including Mayweather, they fought for 31 consecutive minutes, according to the telecast and lawsuit, until Cameron could not go on. All the while, Mayweather was present and cheering wildly.
The suit alleges that “Mayweather forced Sharif to fight multiple rounds of approximately 5, 6 and 7 minutes in length.” Sharif contends that he asked for traditional three-minute rounds but Mayweather said “this is the doghouse” and to “turn those bells off.”
After a bystander told Sharif he should leave the ring, the suit alleges that Mayweather responded by telling Cameron and others that “if Sharif left the ring to beat his ass outside the ring.”
“Sharif feared for his safety and was forced to continue to fight,” the suit said.
According to the suit, Sharif Rahman suffered injuries during the sparring that were bad enough that he had to seek medical attention.
The lawsuit contends that neither Rahman brother was asked to sign a release to allow their names or likenesses to be used in the show and that, as a result of their sparring being aired they “have suffered mental anguish and embarrassment.”
In addition, the suit contends that Mayweather’s gym was not licensed to allow amateurs to spar and failed to provide adequate safety measures.
Mayweather, an executive producer of “All Access” and a licensed promoter in Nevada, was called before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to answer questions about the sparring sessions after members of the commission saw the television show.
On Sept. 23, Mayweather testified — although not under oath — to the commission that the sparring scenes (as well as others featuring several of Mayweather’s girlfriends smoking marijuana in front of him in his Las Vegas home) were staged for the television show in order to help boost pay-per-view sales. He said the 31-minute sparring session did not happen as the fighters were allowed to take several breaks. He also told the commission that the gambling shown in the episode was also fake.
“With ‘All Access,’ we’re able to edit and chop footage the way we want,” Mayweather told the commission.
Mayweather had also spoken in the episode about what he called “the doghouse” fights in the gym.
“The doghouse — the rules are you fight ’til whoever quits,” Mayweather said in the episode. Later in the episode, a smiling Mayweather added, “Guys fight to the death. It’s not right, but it’s doghouse rules.”
The commission was concerned over the lack of regard for the health and safety of the fighters and questioned him about the “doghouse” fights but accepted his version of events and closed the matter — much to the surprise of many, because there were numerous people in the gym, including Showtime production personnel, who were not questioned about the sparring.
“Defendant Mayweather knowingly misrepresented facts while testifying before the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” the suit said.
The Rahman brothers are seeking damages in excess of $10,000 plus punitive damages.
Attorney Vicki Greco of the Greco Law Group, one of the firms representing the Rahman brothers, declined comment to ESPN.com on Friday evening, saying, “We are in the beginning stages of litigation so we won’t be making any comments at this time, but we most likely will in the future.”
Showtime, which has declined repeated requests for comment on Mayweather’s testimony to the commission that the series was staged, did not respond to an ESPN.com request for comment on the lawsuit, nor did Mayweather’s publicist.